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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Harmonization of Laws

One of the most dynamic areas of family law—other than same-sex marriage—is the harmonization of family laws currently occurring in Europe.  The aim is to make family laws more consistent across international borders to accommodate continued mobility.  In the area of matrimonial property law, for example, the most recent issue is whether EU member countries can agree to a common property regime for married couples.  Germany and France have begun cooperation by introducing a new regulation that permits spouses to contract into a common property regime.  The remaining European Union countries must now determine whether they too are ready for the common property regime.

For a long time, there was doubt whether family laws can ever be harmonized across countries.  The main reason for doubt was the cultural differences among European countries.  However, harmonization started to progress, especially in family law areas devoid of cultural values, such as marital property regimes.

Harmonization success in Europe, however, prompts certain questions—whether harmonization is desirable in itself, and if so, how it could be achieved. There are many issues to consider in answering these questions, such as the role of jurisdiction autonomy, cultural relativism, and legal absolutes. These concerns are especially relevant in the field of family law, which regulates the intimacy of fundamental human relationships.

Posted by Margaret Ryznar on September 29, 2013 at 01:31 PM | Permalink

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It is my understanding that European countries generally do not have tax and other laws that penalize singles, vis a vis married couples, as much as laws of the USSA do. Is that true?

Posted by: Jimbino | Sep 29, 2013 9:04:58 PM

Yes, some European countries tax the individual, not the family. This avoids marriage bonuses/penalties. Note, however, that almost as many married couples are penalized by marriage than benefited in the United States, and it depends on whether there is one income-earner in the marriage (benefited) or two income-earners in the marriage (penalized). This is because the marriage tax rates are not double the single tax rates; just increased.

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Sep 29, 2013 10:47:44 PM

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